The amount of time that you spend at the gym doesn’t automatically correlate with the quality of your results. You were probably told to get in there 5 times a week and spend an hour at a time in the weight room. There are less time consuming, more efficient ways to get—and stay—fit.
You just don’t have the time that you used to. Sure, you still have 24 hours like everyone else, but with each year that passes, you fill that time with more activities or responsibilities.
When you were in high school or college, you didn’t have a wife, kids, a job that demands long hours, or an aging house that needs your time and attention. Back in those good old days, you could spend a couple hours at the gym without a care in the world. Now that there’s more on your plate, you just don’t have that kind of time.
So, how can you create similar fitness results for yourself while spending less time in the weight room? It sounds like a trick question, but it’s one that many busy men like you are desperately trying to find an answer to. As you might imagine, the time you’re allotting to your workouts changes, your approach to your exercise regimen needs to shift as well.
But there is a way to still get the results that you want while spending less time at the gym.
Let’s take a look at 4 specific approaches that can impact your physique in a positive way and don’t require hours and hours of your time.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is an approach that gets tossed around in fitness circles quite a bit, but there aren’t a ton of guys that implement it regularly. When most guys are introduced to the weight room, the approach that is passed down to them involves a lot of set work with standard rest periods and rep ranges.
There’s nothing wrong with this approach because it can absolutely deliver results in the categories of muscle strength and size. But it tends to fall short when it comes to time efficiency; if you’re working through a good amount of sets within your workout, you’ll be there for a while.
HIIT, however, raises your heart rate while lowering time wasted in the weight room simultaneously.
The approach is simple: perform an explosive movement for as many reps as you can in a 30-45 second window, rest for the remainder of the minute, then begin again as your timer begins the next minute on the clock. This can be used for cardio or weight lifting, but if you are doing it right, you won’t need more than 10-15 minutes to get in a great workout.
Working circuit training into your workout will affect the amount of time you spend in the gym per workout AND decrease the number of days that you show up to the weight room in a week. Talk about a win-win.
So, how can a well-crafted circuit of exercises still get you results if you’re cutting out so much time in the gym?
Let’s start with how it can shrink the time of each workout. If you have been subscribing to traditional set work at the gym, you’re likely moving from movement to movement after working your way through 3-5 sets. With a well-planned circuit, you can impact all the muscle groups that you intend to without doing so much compartmentalizing. In one circuit, you could move from chest, to back, to biceps, and then wrap it up with some leg work in just a few minutes of movement. Do about 4 or 5 rounds of a circuit that hits your entire body and you won’t need to be at the gym all afternoon.
The ability to hit multiple muscle groups will also allow you to minimize the number of days you spend at the gym. Rather than hitting chest on Monday, back on Tuesday, and so on, you can engage multiple muscle groups within the same day. It won’t be necessary to hit the gym 6-7 days a week when you’ve been working your entire body every day you’re there.
If you have all the time in the world, then isolating certain muscle groups can be an excellent way to stimulate each muscle as you grow and get stronger. But if you don’t have too much time on your hands, you need to choose exercises that are going to give you the best bang for your buck.
Luckily for you, compound movements—the classics like bench press, deadlift, and barbell row—will give you everything you need. These exercises are designed in a way that engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Standing in the mirror doing bicep curls will only work your biceps. On the other hand, the bent-over barbell row will fire up your back, biceps, and shoulders if you’re performing the movement correctly. So, by investing more time in compound movements, you’ll truly be saving time in the long run.
CHOOSE A BETTER TIME TO HIT THE WEIGHT ROOM
The items listed above will save you time by changing how you workout. This tip will trim your workout time by changing when you hit the weight room. If you hit the gym after work, you likely have to wait in line to use a bench press or squat rack. If you wake up early and get to the gym before work, you may be sluggish as you make your way through your workout.
In either case, your workout will probably take a while to get through. There’s no “best” time to head to the gym, but there might be a better time for you to try and exercise. Switch up your routine a bit and see if working out during a different time slot can cut a few minutes out of each workout.
Time is the only resource that you can never get back, so being a slave to the gym for an hour or more may not be optimal anymore. Get in, get out, and get ripped in the process. Let us know which of these tips worked the best for you, we’re always curious what works the best!
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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.